We spent time chatting to South African women’s hockey player and Gauteng coach, Tsoanelo Pholo, about what makes a successful player. Tsoanelo has achieved 53 caps for the SA Women’s Hockey Team and has represented her country in a number of international tournaments; including the 2003 All Africa Games, 2006 World Cup and 2007 Indoor World Cup.

Apart from her success as a player, Tsoanelo has played a large role in the Southern Gauteng Hockey Association (SGHA). She has coached the SGHA under-16, under-18 and under-21 ladies teams; been a part of the SGHA high performance coaching team; as well as Assistant Coach of the SGHA senior ladies team. Tsoanelo is also passionate about sharing her knowledge with school-going players at the Investec Hockey Academy and hopes to make a positive impact on the future of SA Women’s Hockey.

We asked Tsoanelo a few questions to give you expert advice on becoming the best player you can be.

  1. Why is coaching from a young age important?


Tsoanelo: “Hockey is such a technical sport and it is very important to get quality coaching right from the beginning. The younger the player is when they are put in a good program, the higher the chances that a well-rounded and technically sound player will be developed.”


  1. What is the most important attribute a player should have?


Tsoanelo: “The most important attribute a player should have is being a team player. By that I mean, a player who does what is best for the group at all times; be it on the ball, off the ball or off the field.”


  1. What is mental toughness and can players prepare mentally for a match?


Tsoanelo: “Mental toughness is all about attitude for me; it is deciding your fate and not letting anything come in the way of that. it is about controlling everything that is in your power and making sure that you walk off the field with no regrets knowing that you did everything you could to the best of your ability.”

Tsoanelo believes that getting a solid hockey foundation from a young age is the best way to go far in the sport and in life. Together with a number of former and current SA hockey players, the Investec Hockey Academy strives to make this goal a reality for young female players. For more information about our courses, visit our Academy Courses tab.